Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Mike is three years older than my husband.He was the big brother my husband looked up to his whole life. He is also the brother I knew best because we all lived not far from each other after we moved to the big city.
Mike was quite a mischief maker. There was an older boy who lived down the road who was more than happy to be Mike's accomplice. Of course my husband would do anything his big brother wanted him to do. Not to mention that he was not an angel himself.
They decided to play a 'joke' on their mother one time.
Now my mother-in-law was not very tall and was also heavyset. She was a comfortable and comforting woman. She loved her children fiercely. There was nothing she would not do to keep them safe.
The boys went to a tree about halfway up the hill from their house. They tied a rope around my husband's waist and hoited him up into the tree. Then they put another rope around his neck to make it look like he was hanging by the neck.
Then the two older boys ran down the hill yelling for Mom. They screamed that my husband had hung himself!
My mother-in-law ran out of her kitchen door. At top speed she ran up the hill hurdling a fence as she went. As she got closer to the tree my husband could no longer contain himself. He began to laugh.
His mother ripped him down from the tree, got a switch, and hit him with it until it broke. Then she got another switch and started over. By then Mike and his friend had disappeared.
One day at school Mike had done something that required the principal to step in. He grabbed Mike by the ear and pulled him into the office. Mike told his mother what had happened. She agreed that he deserved to be punished and gave him punishment at home.
The next day she went to school with Mike. She found the principal in the hall. She reached up and grabbed his ear and dragged him to his office yelling at him the while way. She told him he was not to grab her son's ear again. Then they had a polite discussion about what had happened and reached a polite decision on the best way to handle it.
When Mike got his driver's license and was able to drive where he wished he and his friends would be found across the river in Nebraska. Apparently there were a lot of pretty girls there.
He found one that he really liked. The problem was that she was Native Amerian. At that time such unions were frowned upon.
My mother-in-law told me herself that she was furious. She said that she could not picture herself walking down the street holding the hand of a little Indian kid and letting people know it was her grandchild.
Well Mike married that girl. That first grandchild was a little boy who immediately became her favorite grandchild.
They had three chilren within three years. Many years later when my own daughter was close to a year old they had another child. When that child was in school they had another for a total of five children.
Unfortunately Mike has a wandering eye. And the rest of him follows closely. His wife was left home with three babies while he was out with other women. It was so hard for her.
She was going to leave him at one time. Then one of her sisters told her that she needed to stay with him no matter what. She shoud have his dinner ready when he came home from work. If he was going out she should make sure his clothes were cleaned and ironed. (Bad advice,)
Eventually he moved to the big city... alone. He left his wife and three children with his mother. She liked having them with her but knew that a father should be with his family. Mom finbally told him when he called one time that he needed to deided. He made the trip home and moved them all to the big city.
Things were not always easy for them in the big city but he seemed to settle down a bit.
When my husband and I moved to the big city after we were married his brother and his family were the only people we knew for a while. As a matter of fact they let us stay with them until we found a place of our own.
My children adored their Uncle Mike. He was a good uncle. He also liked to tease them. I guess it is the purpose of being an uncle.
My oldest son was fun for him to tease because my son was afraid of everything. When my son was about four years old he decided to play a joke on his uncle.
My son had 'won' a plastic hot dog at a carnival. He was going to feed it to his Uncle Mike.
The next time we went to visit my son took his hot dog with him. He secretly showed it to his aunt. She told him she had some hot dog buns so they hurried off to the kitchen. She fixed it up even putting mustard and ketchup on it.
My son took it in to feed to his uncle. Mike sort of glanced at it and said he was not hungry. A friend of Mike's (who was one of the free-loaders always there) immediately grabbed it and tried to take a big bite. My son laughed and laughed. He was disappointed that he could not fool his uncle but he did get somebody.
Mike and his wife were always good to my children. They made sure no one ever bothered them.
After my husband left us he was not as available to our children as he should have been. But Uncle Mike was always available. As a matter of fact he was there for me too. If I had problems with my car he would take a look at and fix it for me. I appreciated it.
I did not always like Mike. He still treated my husband like a little brither which would rankle a wife. And there were a few times he took advantage of us. But I have respect for the way he treated my kids. And I have the utmost respect for the way he treated my daughter.
After her father left my daughter was even more hurt than her brothers. She needed her dad.
Mike stepped in and was there for her. As a matter of fact he really loved her. She was the only person I ever knew him to love that he did not have to.
You know... you have to love your parents, your spouse, and your children. He did not have to love my daughter but he did and she loved him just as much. It was truly the most beautiful relationship I have ever seen.
My daughter spent a lot of time at their house. So much time that they gave her a room of her own. It had all new furnoture. When Christmas came she received the same gifts they gave their daughter of the same age. They were more like sisters than cousins.
Of course my sister-in-law was just as good to my daughter. She liked all children however. Mike really did not care one way or the other about most of those children.
After time I did not go around Mike or his family as often. My childrenstill visited the regularly.
As my children grew and began to have families of their own the visits became less often.
Mike went back to his old ways. He was chasing women again. He developed feelings for one. He could not see her during the day because she was entertaining clients. But he stayed with her at noght.
During the day he would return to my sister-in-law's house and just sit there watching television until he got the call that he could go back.
It was so hard for my sister-in-law. She talked to me about divorce. I told her she should do what she felt was best for herself. She could not bring herself to do it.
Mike ended up in prison. He was gone for several years. His wife should have had a relatively stress free life. Instead she began a long battle with cancer.
She told me several times that she was prepared to die. She always hoped for a few more years to watch her grandchildren grow. But she was ready.
I called one day to check on her. A man answered and I asked if he was their oldest son. He said, "No. This is Mike!" I was surprised even though I knew he was due to be home soon.
She was so glad to have him home. He took her for treatments and doctor appoiuntments. He even took her to church. It meant so much to her.
The bad thing was that he had not given up the girlfriend.
The thing is that my sister-in-law had her husband with her when she died. It was a good thing.
Mike still lives with his youngest daughter. She inherited the house from her mother. She will not allow the girlfriend into her mother's house. So the girlfriend picks him up at the end of her day.
Mike recently fell and had to go to the doctor. The last I heard they were waiting for swelling to go down to know whether his ribs were broken or simply bruised. So he is up and going as strong as ever.